Thirteen World medallists star as first Track and Field athletes to be selected for Rio 2016
Thirteen's our lucky number today as we announce the first wave of track and field athletes who will compete for ParalympicsGB in Rio.
David Weir, four time gold medallist at London 2012, is joined by fellow Paralympic champions Aled Davies, Hannah Cockroft and Richard Whitehead.
"The feeling of representing my country is as strong as it was when I put on the British vest in Atlanta." David Weir
Speaking today, Weir said: “To be a part of ParalympicsGB once again is a huge honour. My first appearance came back in 1996 and the feeling of representing my country is as strong as it was when I put on the British vest in Atlanta.
“My performances on the track at the IPC Athletics European Championships showed that I’m still competitive with the best in the world and will be looking to put myself amongst the medals once again in Rio.
“London 2012 was beyond my wildest expectations, so to have the opportunity to go and do it all again at my fifth Games fills me with huge excitement.
“The team has gone from strength-to-strength in the last few years and I’m sure we’ll show once again that we’re a force to be reckoned with.”
Aled Davies, winner of the men’s F42 discus throw and shot put at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships, said: “London 2012 was the start of my journey in the sport and to have won two medals at the Games was a dream come true. The Paralympic Games is the pinnacle of the sport, so to be selected once again is a huge achievement for me.
"I will be leaving no stone unturned to ensure I’m in the best possible shape come September.” Aled Davies
“Since London, I’ve managed to secure successive world and European titles along with world records, but I do not have the Paralympic shot put title. To win that medal will be that missing piece in the jigsaw and I will be leaving no stone unturned to ensure I’m in the best possible shape come September.”
Cockroft is selected after winning the women’s T34 100m, 400m and 800m at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships, while Whitehead successfully defended his title in the men’s T42 200m. Also selected is T36 800m World Champion Paul Blake.
Teenagers Sophie Hahn and Maria Lyle are selected to make their Games debut, following their performances at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships where Hahn won the women’s T38 100m and the pair helped the women’s T35-38 4x100m relay to the top of the podium. Both took up disability athletics after being inspired by London 2012, as did world record holder Georgina Hermitage, who is also announced today.
Hermitage was a keen runner as a teenager but grew disillusioned with the sport and quit. She was inspired to reconsider sport after watching the London 2012 Paralympics and returned the track. She has gone on to great success, taking the World Championship title in the women’s T37 400m in her very first international season.
Today Hermitage, a mother of one, said: "There is no greater honour than to be selected to represent my country at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
"To be standing amongst the big names from the London Paralympics and the emerging young talent who were inspired by 2012 is just mind blowing." Georgina Hermitage
"To be standing amongst the big names from the London Paralympics and the emerging young talent who were inspired by 2012 is just mind blowing."
World champion throwers Jo Butterfield (F51 club) and Hollie Arnold (F46 javelin) are selected, as is high-jumper Jonathan Broom-Edwards – the first high jumper selected to ParalympicsGB since 1980.
Wheelchair racers Dan Bramall, world silver medallist in the T33 100m, and Mel Nicholls, world silver medallist in the T34 800m, round off today’s announcement.
Penny Briscoe, Chef de Mission of ParalympicsGB, said: “With 76 days to go, I’m delighted to announce the first athletes that will represent ParalympicsGB in track and field and it’s brilliant to know that there’s more to come from this sport when we add more names to the team-sheet in a few weeks’ time.
“It’s really special to know that there will be a strong mix of experience and fresh talent taking to the stage at Rio 2016 and it pays credit to the team at British Athletics who have established a world-leading programme with the power to contest for medals across a wide range of events.”
Paula Dunn, Team Leader for para-athletics and Head Coach of the Paralympic Programme at British Athletics, said: “It’s really exciting to be in a position to announce the first group of athletes for the Paralympic Games. Rio has been the main focus for athletes since London 2012 and they have consistently shown that they are ready to take on the world’s best in September.
“Last year in Doha we secured our largest haul of medals since 1998, which highlights the strength in depth across the whole spectrum of events." Paula Dunn
“Last year in Doha we secured our largest haul of medals since 1998, which highlights the strength in depth across the whole spectrum of events. Those performances combined with a record-breaking showing at the recent IPC Athletics European Championships will see us go into the Games full of confidence.”
Today’s announcement takes the number of selected athletes to 161 from 13 sports. A further announcement will take place in late July to confirm the remaining places on the team for track and field.
Hollie Arnold (F46 javelin)
Home town: Grimsby
Main training base: Cardiff
Paul Blake (T36 400m / 800m)
Home town: Dorchester
Main training base: Bath University
Dan Bramall (T33 100m)
Home town: Middlewich, Cheshire
Main training base: Stockport
Jonathan Broom-Edwards (F44 high jump)
Home town: Colchester
Main training base: Loughborough
Jo Butterfield (F51 club throw)
Home town: Doncaster
Main training base: Glasgow
Aled Davies (F42 shot put)
Home town: Bridgend
Main training base: Welsh Institute of Sport, Cardiff
Hannah Cockroft (T34 100m / 400m / 800m)
Home town: Halifax
Main training base: Halifax
Sophie Hahn (T38 100m)
Home town: Nottingham
Main training base: Loughborough
Georgina Hermitage (T37 100m / 400m)
Home town: Alton
Main training base: Guildford
Maria Lyle (T35 100m / 200m)
Home town: Edinburgh
Main training base: Dunbar/Liverpool
Mel Nicholls (T34 800m)
Home town: Worcester
Main training base: University of Warwick
David Weir (T54 1500m / marathon)
Home town: Wallington
Main training base: Richmond
Richard Whitehead (T42 200m)
Home town: Nottingham
Main training base: Nottingham
* additional events may be confirmed at a later date.